Medical condition leads to breakup of 20-year marriage

Published 8:09 am Friday, February 23, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I suffered an injury that caused internal bleeding, which then gave me iron deficiency anemia. I was battling its symptoms of depression and anxiety before I was diagnosed. Never having had any mental health struggles in my life, I had no idea what was happening to me. I was happy and calm my whole life until this medical condition changed my behavior considerably.
My wife of 20 years left me. I was diagnosed with the iron deficiency anemia after she had left. After the diagnosis, I was able to stop my blood loss and cure the anemia. Its symptoms went away, and I returned to my normal self.
I was sure my wife and I would reconcile after my diagnosis, but she says I was using the illness as an excuse for my behavior. She doesn’t understand it was the cause. She mistakenly believes I am permanently mentally ill. She doesn’t understand that these symptoms went away once the illness was cured. She says it brought out my true personality, which is not true.
My wife and family are my whole life. I didn’t get this medical condition on purpose. We have a 4-year-old daughter I am a great father to. My wife is throwing away our family and trying to take my daughter away from me because I had a curable illness, which I no longer have. How can I get her to understand what happened and save our family? – SADDEST MAN IN THE WORLD

DEAR SADDEST MAN: You can’t force your wife to reconcile, but it would be beneficial to both of you to consult your physician so he or she can explain the reason for your personality change and assure her the problem is not permanent. If that doesn’t help, then you will have to accept that the marriage is over for the most tragic of reasons and go on with your life. I am so sorry for your predicament.
DEAR ABBY: My husband died two years ago. It has been a struggle, but we are making it. I have two sons. One is on his own; the other is in middle school. I want to move back to my hometown, but my son wants to stay here with his friends and go to the local high school like his brother did. I don’t have anything holding me here besides my job.
I am so sad and depressed. Moving back home with friends and family closer would be better for me but maybe not better for him. Losing his dad has been really hard on him. It will be four years before he finishes school. I just want to be a good mom. Please advise me. – NOT SURE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR NOT SURE: Do not move your son while he is in his last year or two at the middle school. By then, cliques have formed, and he may find it difficult to fit in at the new school. The time to make that move would be the summer before your son’s freshman year of high school, because at that time every student will be entering a new environment and be on more equal footing socially. It couldn’t hurt to discuss this with a counselor at your son’s school and ask for suggestions.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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